Sweet Almond Buns and A Food Gal Giveaway

A breakfast pastry adorned with almonds that's not too sweet. (Photo by Carolyn Jung)

A breakfast pastry adorned with almonds that’s not too sweet. (Photo by Carolyn Jung)


It’s rare that I allow myself a pastry for breakfast during the week.

But come Sunday, I am sure ready to indulge in one.

“Sweet Almond Buns” are just the perfect size, too. Not Super-Size me over-the-top. But just a couple bite-fulls of something sweet, tender and with a haunting hint of cardamom.

The recipe is from “Williams-Sonoma Breakfast Comforts” (Weldon Owen) by veteran cookbook writer Rick Rodgers. The book, which I received a review copy of when it came out in 2010, is full of inspired recipes for the most important meal of the day. There’s everything from “Golden Cornmeal Waffles with Fried Chicken” to “Raspberry Jam Doughnuts” to “BBQ Shrimp and Grits.”


These little buns are full of almonds, one of my favorite nuts. They get stirred into the yeast-fortified dough, and mixed with sugar to sprinkle on top of the buns just before baking.

For those who don’t like their breakfast treats cloying, these are perfect as they are just sweet enough.

An almond-packed prize. (Photo courtesy of the Almond Board of California)

An almond-packed prize. (Photo courtesy of the Almond Board of California)

CONTEST: One Food Gal reader will win a most almond-packed prize from the Almond Board of California. It includes 1 pound of whole natural almonds, one jar of almond butter, 1 pound of sliced almonds, an insulated travel pouch for breakfast on the go, and a $20 VISA gift card to help you purchase everything else you need for a hearty breakfast.

Entries, limited to those in the continental United States, will be accepted through midnight PST Sept. 21. The winner will be announced Sept. 23.

How to win?

Just tell me about one of your favorite breakfast treats and why you love it so. Most tantalizing answer wins.

Here’s my own response:

“Would you believe one of my fondest breakfast foods is eggs scrambled with cubes of SPAM? That’s right. It’s because it was a favorite of my Dad’s. Some of my earliest memories of him cooking at the stove revolve around him making that weekend breakfast treat. I can still smell that salty, porky aroma of the SPAM hitting the hot pan, too. It may have been ages since I’ve actually bought a can of SPAM. But that iconic meat-in-a-can will always hold a special place in my heart.”

They're the perfect size, too. (Photo by Carolyn Jung)

They’re the perfect size, too. (Photo by Carolyn Jung)

Sweet Almond Buns with Cardamom

(Makes 12)

3/4 cup whole milk

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 large egg

1 package (2 1/4 teaspoons) quick-rise yeast

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground cardamom

1/4 teaspoon almond extract

1 3/4 cups unbleached flour

1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt

1/2 cup finely chopped almonds

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the milk, 1/4 cup sugar, the butter, egg, yeast, cardamom, and almond extract. Add flour and salt. Mix on low speed until a thick batter forms, about 2 minutes. Add 1/3 cup of the almonds and mix just until combined.

Butter and flour 12 standard muffin cups. (The batter is too sticky to use paper liners.) Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups. Lightly oil a sheet of plastic wrap and place it over the pan, oiled side down. Let stand in a warm spot until the buns have risen to the top of the pan, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, combine the remaining almonds and the 2 tablespoons sugar. Sprinkle evenly over the tops of the buns. Bake until the buns are golden brown, 20-25 minutes.

Transfer to a wire rack and let cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Remove the buns from the pan and serve warm.

Adapted from “Williams-Sonoma Breakfast Comforts” by Rick Rodgers


More Almond Goodness: Pumpkin Almond Cake with Almond Butter Frosting


And: Brown Sugar and Almond Biscotti


And: Cinnamon Almond Wafers


And: Almond Tart with Mirabelle Cream


And: Apricot, Almond Brown Butter Tart


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  • well my favorite breakfast would be crepes with chocolate caramel sauce and fresh raspberries… but thats not very healthy and i dont get that everyday – I usually start my day with a greek yogurt and granola mixture and a fruit smoothie 🙂

  • Mmmm, I can just smell the almond! I bet these would be great on a rainy Sunday morning.

  • These look really good. I’d make them first to see how I liked them, then the second time might use almond paste in the dough instead of the sugar and extract. I’d serve these lovelies with my favorite scrambled eggs containing freshly chopped parsley from my garden and cubes of cream cheese softly melting into the fluffy curds. Savory and sweet together. Perfect.

  • Georgous & appetizing buns, they look just so lovely!

  • My favorite breakfast is similar to yours! On Sunday morning my dad would cook a savory breakfast for me and my sister. He’d fry up a thick slice of ham and an egg, and serve it on a buttered slice of whole grain bread. Seasoned with a little bit of salt and pepper. He always squeezed a fresh glass of orange juice for us too 🙂

  • I’m sold. I love anything almondy… flour, extract, the nuts all by themselves. These Sweet Bun look awesome.
    Have a great week, Carolyn!

  • My favorite breakfast is Nutella crepes with freshly brewed coffee. I like to enjoy it on my porch with my family.

  • When I was in grade school, I used to spend the night with my friend Linda almost every weekend. I looked forward to her mom’s breakfast, because it almost always included glazed donuts, fried in butter!

  • My mom always made pancakes when I was a kid. That was the special breakfast at our house.

  • One of my secret breakfast indulgences on those late bright and sunny weekend mornings is making fresh sweet aromatic brown butter buttermilk syrup. Need I say anymore? The lusciousness of the clarified butter browned away, the aroma of fresh buttermilk and vanilla and snow load of sugar…ahhhh…a indulgent treat to wake up those tired eyes and weak spirits over a warm earthy buttermilk pancake or buttery crepes. Its simple and sophisticated and so so so comforting all the way to the last bite thanks to that dreamy syrup! Now in the Utopian world that would be a dream breakfast everyday!

  • My favorite breakfast treats are muffins! We make a lot of different kinds like zucchini muffins and I almonds would actually be great to add in!

  • this may seem super cheesy to those of you who have been married for ages, but i just made my beau breakfast for the first time, and that’s what i’m citing as my most tantalizing. it was only over easy eggs, bacon, and toast, but he was so complimentary and content and i felt so proud and just downright happy. i’m grinning right now, actually. 🙂

  • I love Blueberry Muffins in the morning! Heck I will even take a Blueberry bagel or go further and have a blueberry shake!

  • if I can indulge myself, i’d love to have a mini baguette covered with creamy butter and low-sugar jam and one crunchy buttery almond croissant served with a cup of cappuccino plus a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice 🙂

  • McIlpenny Hens with Grits and Shrimp.

    My favorite breakfast is one that now I very rarely get to have. Grits give my husband the heebie jeebies (he says, I’m pretty sure he’s never even tried them) and somehow breaking out the shrimp just for myself seems churlish.

    The McIlpenny Hens part though; I make all of the time. I grew up in New Orleans and everyone makes these there though they don’t call them that. Basically it’s a poached egg with a few grains of coarse salt, a pat of butter and a liberal bunch of drops of Tabasco Sauce in the bottom of the poaching cup. No less a cook and great soul than Paul McIlhenny himself showed me how to make this when I was a teenager (though he didn’t call them McIlpenny Hens either!). The name was attached years later when I made them for my friends in the East Village in New York in the 1980s where they were very popular.

    To make the entire breakfast you need to have grits of course (more butter, more salt, more Tabasco – oh yes) and fresh head-on shrimp. Rinse those shrimp very thoroughly in cold water then just cook those wet bad boys in a shallow pan adding butter and minced garlic as the water begins to cook away. If they are gigantic this might take all of 7 minutes.

  • I have a recipe from a bed and breakfast for chocolate “tacos.” They’re really more like crepes that you fill with fresh fruit. So delicious!

  • Definitely crock pot oatmeal with apples and brown sugar. It is so healthy but if you put a little crunchy granola on top it is like you are having apple crisp for breakfast!

  • I love cheesy grits.

  • My grandmother taught me to cook at 8 years old. By the time I was a teen, I had subscribed to a gourmet magazine and dreamed of preparing gastronomical dishes. I am retired and enjoy challenging myself in the kitchen. Lucky my husband likes testing the end result.

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